Our Gay Europe Ambassadors Explore Hipster Haven of Stockholm
By Kevin Forsyth and Kenny Loeliger-Myers
Collaborating with LGBT-friendly destinations that include Stockholm, Copenhagen, Antwerp, and Germany, Out Traveler helped send two lucky Americans to Europe to explore the continent and report back. The winners, who made a compelling Instagram video to win their European getaway, sent their first travelogue back from Sweden's capital. Here's what Brooklyn couple Kevin and Kenny did during their first day in Stockholm:
STOCKHOLM DAY 1
The center of Stockholm is only 20 minutes by train from the airport, so the first day of our Gay Europe adventure began before most Swedes had woken up. A 45minute boat tour through the harbor gave us our bearings and a chance to see the unique character of many of the islands that make up Stockholm.
Next on our agenda was a stroll through the historic Gamla Stan, or Old Town. Home to the Royal Palace; it’s one of the best-preserved Medieval areas in Europe, comprised of twisting and turning narrow cobblestone streets. Unlike tourist meccas in other cities, the chintzy souvenir shops are few and far between, leaving room for galleries, boutiques, and small cafes.
After Old Town, we spent the afternoon exploring the vintage stores and coffee shops of Södermalm, the formerly working-class island in central Stockholm that’s now a hot bed of café culture and shopping. We started at Drop Coffee, an award-winning Swedish roaster where the baristas chat with you about flavor profiles of the regional blends while they brew each cup individually. Next door, a small boutique, Adisgladis, summed up the neighborhood vibe, focusing on organic and up-cycled clothing and products, like sneakers with reclaimed rubber soles. “Söder” is also known for its vintage stores. Beyond Retro offered plenty of kitsch, including entire racks of American college sweatshirts, while Herr Judit focused more on men’s designer labels.
In the evening we headed to Sturehof for dinner, where the playful presentations of seafood complement the restrained elegance of the blue and gold interior (the staff isn’t bad to look at either). Throughout the chic neighborhood of Ostermalm, stylish groups of friends congregate in the outdoor bars that dot the large plazas, wrapped in blankets and huddled under heat lamps to while enjoying a glass of rosé. We opted for the subterranean Gaston Vin, a bar for “wine exploring” with a crowd of young Swedes who preferred their Converse as well-aged as their Cabernet.
By the time we left the bar, the sun was setting – at 11 p.m. It stays that way, hovering just below the horizon and casting an orange glow across the water, until 3 a.m., when it’s ready to rise again for another long summer day in Stockholm. See pics of day one below:
Changing of guards